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I've been looking for an "at home" business I can do, and I found a company online that makes dollhouses. Here's how it works: I send them $50.00, and they send me the materials and plans to make the dollhouses. When I'm finished making a dollhouse, I ship it back to them, and they sell it, taking a commission off the top. It seems like it's a good deal, but how do I know if I can trust them?
King Solomon once said, "A good name is to be more desired than great riches, Favor is better than silver and gold." And that ancient wisdom is the answer to your question. You will know them by the reputation they have in the business community. If I was in your position, the first thing I would do is run a search for them in a search engine.
Just go to Google and type the name of the company. Now, if they are company with a bad reputation, you will find web pages of clients upset with them, complaining about how badly they have been treated. If you find lots of those kinds of pages, be suspicious. Of course, it's possible that they haven't been around long enough to have developed a reputation. You'll be able to tell this because a search in google doesn't turn up many results. And if they're really new, you may not even find their own web page in google, let alone any links to it.
If you can't find them in google by typing in their business name, you should probably be suspicious that this are not a well established business. Being a new business isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, every business was--at one time or another--a new business. But you should be aware of it; if the business has just started out, it may be a fly-by-night operation which will be bankrupt long before you get those dollhouses finished!
Finally, I would check their website for contact information. Not just email address, but also physical address and telephone number. If they don't have that information posted, I wouldn't do business with them. And if they do have it posted, it wouldn't hurt to give them a call, just to verify that they've posted a real phone number. So, in summary, if you are nervous about doing business with an online company, you should do all the following:
1. Check their reputation.
2. Check to see how long they've been around.
3. Verify that they've provided legitimate contact information.